Edelman is being drafted as the 34th WR and 87th overall. A few receivers being drafted before him are Garcon, Funchess, and teammate Chris Hogan. Listen, I get it – JE missed all of last season with a Grade 3 ACL tear, and has to sit out the first four games due to a PED suspension. “That’s not great Cotton” But allow me to present the case for Edelman. One that combines statistical overview but also a more strategic approach.
Edelman is a target monster – in his last 4 seasons he has averaged 9.67 targets per year with a 66.9% catch rate, at 7.19 yards per target. In 2016 he had a massive 29.3% target share, which ranked 2nd in the league. When JE is in the game, he dominates. And you will not find another receiver with a target share close to Edelman’s that also has a quarterback with Brady’s accuracy slinging him the ball.
Even with the four-game suspension, Edelman’s 12 game projections based on his 4 year averages would be:
116 Targets for 77.6 Receptions, 834.3 yards and 4.36 TD. Now, those are not great season long numbers, but as we all know, fantasy football is a weekly game and the weekly averages look like:
6.46 receptions, 70.3 yards, 0.36 TD = 15.67 points in PPR scoring
That would have been WR 11 last year, right in between Julio Jones (15.7ppg) and Adam Thielen (15ppg)! You have the ability to draft a WR1 in the 8th Round.
Now, I know those first four weeks won’t be fun, seeing him on your bench, but it is not like you are getting a zero for those weeks. You will have your fourth or fifth WR available to plug and play those weeks, a guy like Rishard Matthews or Kenny Stills. Last year the WR 50 averaged 9.2 points a game in PPR formats – so just your replacement level player for 4 games (36.8ppg) plus 12 games from Edelman will result in = 224.84 seasonal points. That would have been good enough for WR 13 last year.
People see a 4-game suspension and freak out, and I admit it is not ideal. But you can weather the storm early, especially if you grab one of the guys from my next article as an early season fill-in. Having this level of WR production inserted into my lineup for the final 3 quarters of the season sounds just fine to me.
Edelman is my WR 18 in PPR formats, which is typically drafted in Round 4 – I will enjoy his discounted price and draft him in the 6th Round. As a late round QB guy, I have been selecting at two, and sometimes 3, WR with my first five picks in most mock drafts.